A Good Cross, A Good Servant, and a Changed World.

A Good Cross, A Good Servant, and a Changed World. March 30, 2024

Stumbling Blocks and Fools

Good Friday has come and gone and now, it is Holy Saturday. Church communities across the world met on Good Friday, either formally in the form of a service, or informally for a time of reflection, in order to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus. The world stood and watched as the Son of God in human flesh gave up His life for the sins of humanity, taking on himself the wrath that we deserved for sin. It was this idea of God giving up His life on a cross that caused the preaching of the crucifixion to be considered a stumbling block for the Jews and Foolishness for the Greeks (1 Cor 1: 23).

On the Cross, God identified Himself with the lowest of the low: The Criminal, the Outcast, the Slave, the Oppressed, and the Abandoned. And for God to do such a thing was against all of the working knowledge about the divine that existed in the minds of the ancient world… except maybe some Jews.

Today, 2,000 years later, the questions arise: “What is the big deal about the cross?” What does a Jewish man dying 2,000 years ago have to do with modern, good thinking, upright people?” Perhaps, we’ve surely we’ve moved away from such barbaric notions of God sacrificing His son, right?

Whether these questions are warranted or not, the fact remains that the cross and the resurrected man have been the foundation of which our Western World has stood for 2,000 years. It all starts with a cross and a Good, Suffering Servant.

The Cross and the Good Servant

The question of the cross changes from person to person. But for someone seeking to know why it matters, the answer may be astounding at best, and wanting at worst. For us to understand what the suffering of Jesus meant, we must consult Scripture.

Let’s start with one of my personal-favorites, Isaiah 53. Here’s an excerpt

“Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.”

Jesus is this Servant

There is a common misunderstanding that the suffering servant is referring to God’s people, Israel. Yet this seems unconvincing. I don’t think I see Israel suffering for our iniquities. And of course we see that the suffering servant was punished for the transgression of “my people”. Who is “my people” referring to if not Israel?

The simple answer to the question who is the suffering-servant, is that it’s Jesus.

The Good News of the Cross

Jesus is that suffering-servant as described in Isaiah 53. He is the one who was crushed for our iniquity. It was Jesus who would take on the punishment for sin.
Jesus was the one the who took up our pain and bore our suffering.

On the cross, as we celebrated on Good Friday, Jesus died for you and for me.

Here are some things that the Cross means for us:

  • Our sins were taken on the cross and we can live for righteousness (1 Peter 2: 24)
  • He Paid the Debt that we owed to God  for sin (Colossians 2:14)
  • We have reconciliation with God because of the cross (Colossians 1:20)
  • We are redeemed from the curses of the Law (Galatians 6:12)
  • We can be assured that God loves us before we love Him (Romans 8:32)
  • God shows us His Justice and it’s satisfied (Romans 3:25-26)

Next Steps

As we reflect on the cross we must come to terms with our own sin, our own iniquity, our own evil. In other words, the cross calls us out and points us to what is truly deep inside of us.

For those of us in the West, this is a stumbling block. In a world or comfort and a “you do you” mindset, it’s easy to think that we are good people and that we are all simply trying to live our best life and as long as we aren’t hurting anyone we’re fine. However, the cross spits in the eye of this mindset.

The cross calls us to repentance as the Son of God sacrifices Himself. Because the cross is where the perfect is slain for the broken. The cross is where the sins of all are paid for by one. The cross is where the wrath of God and the love of God meet for the good of humanity and for His glory.


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